Jay French LMHC
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Individual therapy

The process of individual psychotherapy

As far as we know, we are the most complex beings on the planet. Our minds are actually several minds, working together. The oldest part of our minds goes back millions of years.

Our minds can get into trouble in innocent and well-meaning ways. Out of self protection, or the desire to protect others, mistaken beliefs or feelings about the self can arise and can take hold in parts of the mind that are difficult to access or to reason with in an ordinary way.

Psychotherapy is a way of using the mind to heal the mind. Its tools are the intellect and personalities of both people in the therapeutic relationship, as well as the therapeutic relationship itself. There are many worthwhile approaches to psychotherapy, but the one thing that they all have in common is the open and non-judgmental attitude of the therapist, and the importance of the therapeutic relationship.

My method of doing therapy is psychodynamic -- that is, I believe that there are important aspects of our minds that are not immediately available to our consciousness and our reason, and that these aspects can influence large portions of our feelings, our behavior, and our conscious thoughts — for better and for worse. This approach to psychotherapy has gone in and out of popularity over the years, although it is currently enjoying an upswing due to new methods of research that are revealing the reality and importance of the unconscious and its influence over our everyday behavior (an interesting overview of some of this research can be found in the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell).

How does psychodynamic psychotherapy work?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is not an exact science. It is a slow process of uncovering feelings, beliefs, and thoughts about ourselves and the world around us. An especially important kind of unconscious material consists of procedural memories. These are like scripts or programs that are stored in the brain, instructing us what to expect in particular situations and how to respond. For example, I might have a procedural memory related to getting help, telling me that I must prove myself worthy in some way before I can expect to be helped. It's probably accurate to say that all of our procedural memories were useful to us at the time that they were laid down in our minds, but in adult life many of our early procedural memories can become obstacles to our growth. Correcting such mistaken beliefs is the task of psychotherapy.

Jay French LMHC, Psychotherapy | 927 N. Northlake Way, Seattle WA 98103 | Map and directions

Contact me: (206) 438-4673 | jay@jayfrenchtherapy.com

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